Examples of local companies with deceptive or exaggerated claims and questionable practices:
Secondly: Do Some Research into the company! If you are dealing with a company then be sure they carry bonding and liability insurance. If they don't then then beware!! Steer clear of individuals .. you are just looking for trouble hiring an independent, even if they previously worked for a reputable company. Why are they no longer there? Don't take their explination at face value .. maybe they were fired for some or other reason .. you will never know, and because of privacy issues the company is not going to divulge that information to you. If you insist on hiring an individual then do a full state-to-state background check and credit check. (Crooks will move to another state if they become known in one state).  To be sure, be sure to run these at least every 6 months on this individual since there may be a pending case that does not yet appear on the records.. (Note: We highly recommend that you NOT hire an individual because of the other concerns we discuss elswhere relating to the legal requirements such as Social Security and IRS witholding,  Workers Comp Insurance, etc. -  Click here to see that article -   page down to the section that says "Individual / Independent Cleaners")

Thirdly: Check them out with the Better Business Bureau. If you are looking to hire a company to clean for you start out by checking the company out with the BBB. If they are a member that is a good start. Remember however that BBB membership is something that members pay for so most of the time the BBB has a vested interest in having companies become members. The question is how long have they been members and how do they respond to customer concerns. If a company has only been a member for say only 3 months then there is no track record. Also keep in mind that the BBB takes at face value what businesses tell them about themselves and only question the potential member if there is a concern. A case in point is for example one of the businesses listed below that started in November 2004 but on their flashy web site claims to have been in business for 15 years as at today's writing on 12/7/04. The Secretary of State file shows that they filed the trade name on November 2, 2004. 

1. (company name omited -call our office if you want their name)  -Denver area - they also trade as  (name omitted). - According to the Secretary of State they were formed on 11/2/04 - website claims they have been in business more than 15 years ... this is simply not true ...WHY would they lie about how long they have been in business? Are you sure you can trust them?
Know of others that should be listed here? E mail us the info and we will investigate and include here if applicable. If you are included here and you wish to be removed then correct your advertising claims / unfair business practices and "do the right thing"  and inform us that you have done this and we will be happy to remove you from this list.     E-mail correspondence to Marioph123@aol.com
Picking a good house cleaner is not as easy as it sounds. Many just pick up the yellow pages or do a search on the internet and pick the first company that they find that charges the lowest price. That unfortunately is not always the best route. Anybody with a little bit of money can set up a web site or run an ad. Over the years we have seen people come and go in this business. The majority of these people were good, hard working honest people who just did not have very good business sense and did not make it. They often after making a go of it leave unhappy clients behind with unresolved issues such as lost, missing or broken items in the customers home, services or deposits paid for but not provided, house keys that were not returned, confidential information such as credit card info in limbo,etc, etc. The bigger concern however are the  people out there who are dishonest and really don't care about integrity and are in business for other reasons. These are the ones that are very scary and that you need to watch out for! They are the kind of people who will provide CHEAP services because they may have other intentions ..

So then, what do you look for if you are hiring a cleaning company or maid service?

Firstly:  How long have they been in business? Bad services don't last very long! Also don't take them at their word as to how long they have been in business, there are MANY companies and individuals out there who will blatently lie to you about who they are and what they do and how long they have been around.  Your best defense is to research companies / individuals well before you hire them. If a company is going to lie to you about the most basic things like how long they have been in business then what else do you need to be concerned about? Are they a real business or are they using this as a means of gaining access to your home to check out your possessions and security? It is very easy for somebody to file a trade name and be in business tomorrow. The scary thing is what do you as a customer know about this company or individual and their integrity? How can you be sure that the person who owns the "business" is not a convicted criminal who has just got out of jail and can't find work, and so decides to "start his or her own business". There have been cases where people have hired individuals or questionable companies who have later come back and burglarized the home. (for example, here is an interesting article from the "Cinncinnati Enquirer".... Click Here to read the article). In addition some of these individuals may not physically steal from you but, since  they have access to your home, they can get hold of your important papers such as bank statements, credit card statements, social security numbers, etc. With the rise of identity theft cases can you take a chance with somebody you don't know having free reign in your home? With our screened and bonded housekeepers that should not be a concern. (Click here for info about "Theft By Maid" )
Fourthly: Does the Company hire employees or are they Independent Contractors?   If they are contractors then YOU get stuck with employment taxes and workers compensation costs. Below is an example of a company with a very nice flashy website that looks really nice, but when your read this very carefully it is obvious that they act as an "agency" which makes YOU responsible for Social Security taxes for YOUR employee as well as IRS witholding, Workers Comp, etc. etc.
2. (company name omited -call our office if you want their name) - Denver area- they also trade as (name omitted) - This company will put people in your home as independent contractors. They act as an "agency" which means that YOU are responsible for Social Security taxes for YOUR employee as well as IRS witholding, Workers Comp, etc. etc. They say that they ensure that the employees file their own Social Security and Taxes, but how can you be sure of that? The individuals are regarded as YOUR domestic employee and YOU are responsible for doing that .. there is no legal way around this.. They are trying to avoid having these individuals on THEIR payroll so that they do not have to pay payroll taxes and workers comp on them. Very questionable. Some years ago the IRS and SSA shut down a similar company called "Anita's Maid Service" for this very thing ...  Be sure you understand what you are getting in to if you sign up with them! Are you prepared to take the risk?
Finally: Let others know of your experiences: If you are aware of a questionable company or individual then share it with others. We hate to name names, but the fact of the matter is that there are companies or individuals out there that are questionable, and yet day to day reputable companies like ours and others are forced to compete with them because they appear to be what they are not. They make promises that they do not deliver or practice unethical policies to offer unreasonably low prices that no ethical company can compete with. We have decided that we will expose these people by posting here any information that we have about these companies / individuals. We DO check our facts, but if we get it wrong we would be happy to correct it .. just let us know!.
3. (Name omitted - call our office if you want her name)  - Denver area - This is an individual. She is a very capable cleaner but is a thief. Stole company property, including a vacuum and cleaning supplies,  when she left her former employer to "start her own business". Thieves always justify their actions ...she will justify hers. Can you afford to have a thief working in your home? Hire her at your own risk.
4. (company name omited -call our office if you want their name) - Denver areas - Claims to be 25% to 50% less than other services. Is that in fact true? 25 to 50% less than who? Get a quote from them and then call and compare our rates .. they are NOT 25 to 50% less. Find out exactly how much time you will get for what you are paying, or ask for their hourly rate.. ... We will usually beat their price for the same  amount of time! We will match or beat their written quote ... period!!
5. (company name omitted - call our office if you want their name) - Denver and surrounding areas - Claim to be the largest independent cleaning company in the Denver area.  How can you verify that? Just because they say that is it true?  Anybody can make exagerated claims that are not verifiable and consumers can be fooled into believing them. It does not matter how many OTHER people a company services, how are they going to do in YOUR home? The fact of the matter is that if we wanted to make the claim we could show that WE are in fact bigger than this company. Our combined company Mountain Maids and Colorado Springs House Cleaning services performs over 950 house cleanings a month..that's over 11,000 cleanings a year.... but we don't make a big deal about that BECAUSE that is NOT the important thing. We know and care about each and every one of our customers and take the time to get to know you individually ..you are not just one of our many customers... we know YOU by name, know your expectations and try very very hard to meet your requirements and to please you. We are not perfect but our customers love us because we really do care!!
UPDATE 1/27/05: : We have decided to omit the names of these companies or individuals from our web site, but we would be more than happy to provide the names to you if you call or e-mail us. Also we are sure that if you do your own research into companies exagerated claims it will be obvious who these people are. Bottom line DON'T just take things at face value, you are entrusting these people with your HOME and your possessions... be careful !!
Fifthly: Don't be fooled by the fact that they come up in an internet search or have a web site. Today in just a few minutes anybody with a credit card and a web site can get top placement in MSN, Yahoo and Google. That does not mean that they are a good or trustworthy company or that what the web site claims is true. NOBODY checks this info. If you don't check then you are on your own. Check out any company you are considering using....period!